Yet another businessman has found himself before the court for a ‘serious” offence.
Less than a week after two directors of Goddard Enterprises Limited were released on bail after being charged in connection with a drug bust, a Bridgetown businessman and two of his employees appeared in the District ‘A’ Magistrate’s Court today charged with kidnapping a cashier who worked at one of his stores.
Owner on No. 1 Beauty Supplies, Omar Ahmad Bashiti, 51, of 242 Marcus Drive, Crystal Heights, St Michael, has been accused along with security guard Renalto Cameron Barnard, 36, of 4th Avenue Pickwick Gap, Westbury Road, St Michael; and internet technology specialist Stevan Uros Greaves, 38, of Ellis Road, Halls Road, St Michael.
The trio was not required to plead to a joint charge of removing Karen Thompson from Rock Dundo, St Michael on July 20, without her consent.
Bashiti and Barnard are further accused of trespassing at Thompson’s home on the same date with intent to commit theft while Bashiti is facing a separate charge of stealing $700 in cash belonging to the same complainant.
The two pleaded not guilty to the burglary charge while the businessman could not plead to the theft charge as it allegedly took place in the District ‘D’ jurisdiction.
Prosecutor Station Sergeant Samuel Hinds objected to bail for all the accused.
He argued that Bashiti was not a resident of Barbados and had dual citizenship in the United States and Jerusalem, while Greaves was from St Vincent.
He stated that there was no way to guarantee their attendance at court, given their status.
He also said kidnapping was a very serious matter and the Crown was concerned that the 37-year-old complainant “could be interfered with”.
However, defence attorney Angella Mitchell-Gittens made a strong case for bail arguing that while Bashiti and Greaves where non-nationals, both had valid work permits and had never before been charged with any offences.
In fact, she revealed that Bashiti had been living in the country for the past 12 years and owned 11 stores, employing some 250 people who were dependent on him for an income.
“Let’s just say he might have more ties than some of us here because with 11 businesses, certainly he would not up and leave the county,” Mitchell-Gittens argued.
Greaves, she said, had been here for the past eight years with his wife and family and had also never been charged in his native country.
In Barnard’s case, the attorney-at-law stated that he was a Barbadian who had a clean record.
She also asked Magistrate Douglas Frederick to disregard the Station Sergeant’s objection of fear of interference as the offences had allegedly occurred two weeks ago.
“It is baseless and pointless . . . . There must be some evidence to substantiate that objection . . . and there is no evidence [to that effect]. The seriousness of the matter also does not suffice as every case brought before the court is serious,” Mitchell-Gittens stated.
However, she added that the only thing that was “undisputed” in the cases before the court was that there was “an allegation of things being taken from the business . . . and she was taken to her home to get the stuff.
“The dispute is how she got there . . .[which] is the context of these charges . . . . One side is saying she went willingly and the other side says otherwise. It is not your typical case of kidnapping with guns involved or anything so,” Mitchell-Gittens added.
After considering the submissions from the two sides Frederick ruled in favour of the defence and granted the accused men bail on condition that they stay away from the complainant.
Bashiti was released on $15,000 bail as he is accused of three charges, while Barnard was granted $12,000 for his two offences and Greaves, who is accused of one offence, was granted $10,000 bail.
They are scheduled to return before Frederick on November 7.
In the meantime, Bashiti is to appear in the District ‘D’ Magistrate’s Court on August 8 on the theft charge.